The STMA Student Challenge is presented in partnership with the SAFE Foundation, Founding Partner Hunter Industries and supporting sponsor Ewing Irrigation. Each year students from 2-year and 4-year colleges and universities across the country compete in an exam that challenges knowledge in the sports turf industry. The winning teams receive cash awards of $5,000. The prize money benefits the institution’s turf program and creates opportunities for students pursuing a career in sports turf management.
Mt. San Antonio College was the 2-year division winner in 2017. They have used the funds to begin construction on a permanent equipment storage facility. The facility is approximately 1,500 square feet and is enclosed with block walls. Concrete has already been poured for part of the floor. Drainage, more concrete, and a roll-up door for large equipment access were also installed this semester. It is a huge project, requiring over 30 cubic yards of concrete and a substantial amount of money for other construction materials. Mt. SAC is using construction classes for installation, which gives students another opportunity to learn. This project is important because every sports facility has a shop, and this gives students an idea of how to build and organize an equipment facility.
Penn State was the 2017 4-year division winner. Students had the opportunity to improve the State College Little League fields. Although it was not possible to completely replace the infield mixes on each field, three fields were edged and resurfaced, then leveled. The funds provided by winning the Student Challenge were used for the infield mix and laser leveling. Matt Neri, sports turf manager with the Class A short-season State College Spikes, assisted the students.